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Fri, May 02, 2003

Navy UCAV Contract to Northrop Grumman

To Design, Build X-47B UCAV Demonstrators

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems sector an "undefinitized" [perhaps an education major wrote that one --ed.] contract modification worth up to $160 million to produce and demonstrate a minimum of two full-scale X-47B unmanned combat air vehicles.

The X-47Bs will demonstrate the technical and operational feasibility of using a UAV to conduct U.S. Navy missions from an aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman will also demonstrate how a UCAV can be used to satisfy U.S. Air Force mission requirements.

The award is a modification to the company's current Phase IIA UCAV agreement. It marks the beginning of Phase IIB of the Naval UCAV advanced technology effort. Over the next 90 days, Northrop Grumman will develop a detailed cost and development schedule for the program, which is expected to run through 2006.

Under terms of the agreement, Northrop Grumman will adapt its current X-47B UCAV design to accommodate a consolidated set of Navy and Air Force science and technology objectives, including a combat radius of 1,300 nautical miles with a payload of 4,500 pounds, and the ability to loiter for two hours over a target up to 1,000 nautical miles away.

In addition to developing the air vehicle and its autonomous control system, the contract also calls for development of a UCAV mission control system.



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